updated 02:35 pm EDT, Tue July 17, 2007
iPhones swamp hot spots
iPhones appear to be flooding wireless access points at Duke University, knocking anywhere from 12 to 30 hot spots offline at a time. NetworkWorld.com reports that 18,000 requests per second from the built-in 802.11b/g iPhone wireless adapters periodically flood sections of the university's wireless network with MAC address requests, taking down numerous access points simultaneously. Network staff on campus are working with Cisco, the primary wireless LAN provider, and Apple to resolve the issue but have so far come up empty handed. "Because of the time of year for us, it's not a severe problem," said Kevin Miller, the assistant director of communications infrastructure at Duke's Office of Information Technology. "But from late August through May, our wireless net is critical. My concern is how many students will be coming back in August with iPhones? It's a pretty big annoyance, right now, with 20-30 access points signaling they're down, and then coming back up a few minutes later. But in late August, this would be devastating."
The campus wireless network has around 150 registered iPhones, and the flooding occurs when the devices repeatedly request the MAC address of an invalid router address. Miller doesn't know where the 'bad' router address is coming from, but the iPhones appear to start flooding the network after they have lost their wireless connection to one hot spot and reconnect at another location.
"I don't believe it's a Cisco problem in any way, shape, or form," Miller said, adding that so far communications with Apple have been "one-way."
Apple did tell Miller that the problem is being escalated, but a response is yet to come from the Cupertino-based company about its alleged misbehaving iPhones.